Category Archives: Life Changes

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1 Year Anniversary 

It’s been a year since I left Washington State for Arizona.  To say it’s been a busy one is an understatement.  Eons ago when I started school my parents made the decision to stay in the Olympia area and we did.  Of course, … Continue reading

Beach Life

I’ve never had the opportunity to stay at the beach longer than 3 days at any given time. Until now. I’m enjoying life on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Washington state for four weeks right now. And it’s awesome!!!

I’ve made no bones of the fact that the beach is my happy place. I came here to find out if living here, either permanently or semi-permanently, was something I would enjoy. After all, it’s pretty drizzly, windy, and cold most days here. Fall, Winter, and Spring are like that. I don’t come here often in the summer, but there are more sunny days then, I’m sure.

I’m spending more time outdoors. Afternoons are for beach walks and reading in my chair…on the beach.

Anyhow, as I type this, I’m a week in and still totally hooked on beach life. What do I love?

  • The slower pace and less frantic lifestyle.
  • The ambiance.
  • Sitting in a chair on the beach after a long walk, just watching the waves.
  • The friendliness of the people around me. I sit and work in front of the window and they wave as they go by on their beach walk.
  • Finding beach treasures.
  • The weather. I don’t mind chilly and windy. In fact, I prefer it to the heat of summer.

What I don’t love:

  • That we don’t already have a place of our own at the beach.

Seriously, I don’t have anything else on the negative list. The place I’m renting is one row back from beachside, so I have a good view of the water and it’s a short walk to get there. I’m enjoying amazing sunsets, watching the tide roll in and out, and the clouds herald more rain or blowing out to let the sun in. It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, and it’s a world all to its own.

And I am hooked so far. I’ll post again next month about how I feel at the end of the four weeks. In the meantime, I hope you all get to find a beach, or mountain, if you prefer, and enjoy some outdoor time!

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Threading

Without the picture you would think this blog was about something for sewing.  Since I first discovered threading (January 2023), I have seen one sign that I’d have sworn I could go in for hemming some pants.  

Karen and I found this way to shape brows by accident.  There was a shop in Walmart and I went in to make a couple of appointments for having our brows waxed.  The young lady said they did Threading instead and always ready to try something new, we thought it would be fun to try.  

Since than I have asked around and found that 

1. Some people have heard of Threading , but never tried it.

2. Some had never heard of Threading.

3. No one I asked had Threading done. 

I googled  ‘Threading’ and thought I would address some of what we found with our experience.  To start with, both Karen and I have switched from waxing to threading so my view will be in the positive. 

1. The speed of the process. I didn’t find it faster but it was marginally slower. And that was our first time so it might be faster for us to maintain. 

2. It doesn’t hurt as much as waxing. Both of us hardly felt it. 

3. Lasts as least as long as waxing maybe even longer as they shaped the brows. 

4. Cost. Every place here (Phoenix), charge $10 for Threading and $15 for tinting.  When Karen went home, she had hers done in Lacey Washington for the same price. 

5. Some irritation around the area.  Mine were about the same as waxing both in redness and how long it lasted.  By the time Karen got back to the house I didn’t notice any redness. But mine always is irritated to the point of redness with waxing.

In researching Threading, after we had it done, I found that brow threading has been practiced in multiple cultures for several thousand years.  They think it might have originated in India or Iran. Today it has been adopted by cultures worldwide and is one of the most popular methods of shaping brows.  (This makes me feel like a DUH moment. How am I just now hearing about it?)

Happy- Or Hoppy- Easter

Jillian here. Sorry I missed my day to blog last month. Hobbes had just had surgery and he was a miserable kitty who wouldn’t sleep alone and I spent five nights sleeping on the couch with him while he moaned and groaned about the collar he had to wear. I walked around in a daze at work for that week and didn’t even realize the 9th of the month passed until the 12th. Pretty crazy, I know.

Today is Easter and I hope those of you who celebrate are having a nice holiday. Now that we don’t have small children and don’t do the egg dying and hunting thing, it’s a pretty quiet day. We have dinner at my parents’ home and enjoy the whole turkey with fixings meal as if it was thanksgiving all over again. My mom makes the best gravy and the best deviled eggs so I am sure to indulge in those.

We used to go to the sun rise (or SON-rise) service at my church but they stopped doing it. I always loved that service as it was set to start before the sun was up and the sun came up just as it was ending– at the final hymn–beautiful. And then there was the pancake breakfast…

One thing I love about Easter is the availability of Starburst jelly beans. They have a bag of all reds that we stock up on while we can. They used to only be sold at Target but now you can get them other places. I am proud of myself this year. I bought 6 bags and have not eaten one. Not one, single jelly bean. I’m still trying to lose weight and cut down on sugar. But I do think I might cave before the day is over and eat a few. We’ll see.

Passover was also this week. My daughter-in-law is Jewish so they do both a Seder and an Easter celebration. They went on an egg hunt in their community park last weekend and her brother’s girlfriend gave birth to their second daughter on Passover. A sweet new little girl for my son and DIL to be aunt and uncle to and a new cousin for Benjamin.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you have a blessed day full of love and happiness. And go get you some Starburst red jelly beans—you won’t regret it.

Back in the Swing

It’s hard to believe we are already in the middle of February, the last two months for me having gone by in a blur of family health and other matters. It’s been a hard, difficult time. One that has seen little work, either in writing or painting, produced by me, and even less housework done. But a corner has been turned and life is returning to normal. I hate winter at the best of times; spring cannot come soon enough, and it’s definitely on the horizon; that alone gives me hope and joy. Here in the south west of England, the weather is mild although the nights are still cold, little rain, and joy of joys, dawn is arriving earlier each day, meaning before long I can enjoy my early morning coffee outside in the garden. Plus the evenings are getting lighter each day. Hoorah!

Soon Dave and I can get back to our joint passion: gardening. We are itching to be outside as there is a lot to do: dead leaves, stems and plants to remove, spring pruning to be done, flowers and vegetables to be planted. I’m particularly looking forward to planting up my new flowerbed, the one where we filled in the koi pond last year. The front lawn at present is a mass of snowdrops and crocus, before long the daffodils and hyacinths will be in flower too, giving pleasure not just to us but to passers-by, especially the children coming home from school. Most amusing of all is one particular dog, a gorgeous red setter, one of a pair walking with their owner by the house every morning. The dog always stops at our drive to have a look at the garden before he will walk on, no matter how much the owner tries to pull him away.

In the back garden, everything is budding into leaf including all the clematis. I have a large collection of hellebores currently in bloom providing lots of colour around the beds; they are one of my many favourite flowers.

I am finally back into the swing of working on my current novel, the editing going well, if slowly, and as you may have seen already, produced a lovely painting of a squirrel, one I am pleased with. The trouble with painting and art is that everyone (me included) expects every piece to be a masterpiece. It is rarely like that. For each “good” painting, there are possibly 4 or 5 bad ones, ones thrown or hidden away, never to be shown to anyone. I thought this only happened to me, but recently reading an art magazine the other day, I learnt this happens to many artists. We all reach for perfection and too often cannot see beyond our mistakes, things that others do not notice.

“Nutty the Squirrel”

It is the same with our writing. We angst and strive to make each word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, book, the best it can possibly be often, to the extent of losing the spontaneity and life we have given our work. It’s the knowing when to stop and let it loose on the world.

And on that note, I shall stop here to allow this post to take flight.

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February!

Jillian here. Can you believe it’s February already? Wow. It’s crazy how one week just blurs into the next. It seems like it’s always Thursday (why can’t it always be Saturday? 🙂 )

My life has been kind of limited lately. Work (my paralegal was out almost the whole month of January, so I was doing her work and mine–with help from my legal assistant- but it was still a lot), home, and taking care of a family member both at home and in the hospital. I am tired and wish I could sleep for a month but that isn’t going to happen. 😦

Funny how life seems to come in spurts- hard times seem to add more hard times, don’t they? And conversely, good times seem to multiply to bring more joy. Not much balance in my life right now– there are lots of good things, but the three a.m. bugaboos are getting the best of me. I’ve never seen so much of the wee hours of the morning than I have the last two months.

I did get a chance to go to lunch with a group of friends yesterday. The seven of us had a lovely visit and it was a much needed balm to my soul. And I had Brunswick stew which is one of my favorite things in the world. I usually eat salad for lunch but I wanted to treat myself a little and indulged. It was so yummy!

Last Saturday, I also got to judge the county history fair here. That is always fun and seeing the projects of our students is educational and enlightening. The middle school winner was based on the Clotilda. The last slave ship to America which was illegal at the time and the owner ended up sinking it to cover his crime. This is about 40 miles from where I live. It’s a shameful part of history but the families who live in Africatown are determined to make sure no one forgets about it. It is a thriving community today with the descendants of those slaves.

There are ongoing dives to excavate the wreckage and I recommend this documentary on it.

Here’s a cool picture I took of the bankruptcy court flag on my way home one day- love the early moon rise, too.

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Time for Boating in Peoria

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Here in the valley of Arizona it’s boating time.  When we bought the house in August it was too hot to take the boat out. You rarely saw anyone on the lake. But now even with temperatures at about 10 degree’s … Continue reading

November 2022

I went out to take some picture of the tomato’s a few days ago and snapped a picture of the boat. Since we bought the house in August when it was in the 3-digit temperatures, we didn’t take it out. Now it is perfect spring like weather, and we see boats out a lot. 

I’ve been here 5 months now and I am starting to acclimatize. Weather for sure is different from the Pacific NW. And, things you do in ‘seasons’ is a lot different. Winter is the time to get outside. My tomatoes and basil like November. There is even a volunteer tomato plant growing like a weed.  

Maybe I should string Christmas light over them.  🙂 

With Christmas coming, Kris and I are going back north. The grandkids are there so we wouldn’t be happy here without them. Plus, I’ve arranged to have the things in storage moved down here. Kris and I will coordinate the pickup in Washington and Rick/Lin will cover the Arizona end. It will be a busy December for sure. 

Wishing all of you US folks a Happy Thanksgiving this week. Oh, and if you venture OUT for black friday shopping, have a good one. I’ve only done it once and that was enough until this online shopping came into play. 

PS: Just as I started to post this blog Lin sent a picture of Harley’s first professional grooming. OMG I love this puppy

 

Remodel Project

Jillian here- Happy October. Bet you thought I’d do a post about my love for Halloween, didn’t you? Well, not today! LOL!

Last year, the hubs and I agreed to no Christmas presents for us since we don’t need “stuff” and, instead, we would remodel our small bathroom. Weirdly, in our house, the master bath only has one of those big sunken tubs with water jets and no shower so we have always taken our showers in the bathroom at the far end of the house. There is another bath that the boys use but we have always used this third one for ourselves for showers. It’s also one of the two rooms–the other is the laundry room–that we have never changed the flooring in (and we have owned this house since Oct, 2000). It’s an awful color, but when I suggested it was past time to tile it, Mr. C said he’d rather do the whole bathroom over. So, that was supposed to be our Christmas present to ourselves. Yes, 10 months ago…

Life took a turn with a cancer diagnosis for Mr. C in February and, as he planned to do the work himself, it had to wait for the procedures and treatments to be done and for him to feel better. He was lucky that he didn’t get too sick, but he was tired all the time and didn’t feel like doing much–which is totally acceptable and understandable.

So, today, we start. He is cutting up the tub and removing it. Here are the “before” shots. And I know, it looks like I need to clean, but I have put it off since we have D-day today. Will do some “afters” when it’s done. Wish me luck as he gets to be a bear when he is laying tile-and he is doing the whole shower wall and floor–he’s a def. perfectionist!! Which is good for the final product, but not so good for his mood while it’s happening. 🙂

The End of an Era

Jillian here. This month, I’ll be truly sharing what many are discussing today over backyard fences all over the world. A true end of an era. 

For most of us, we have only been alive during the reign of one monarch in the United Kingdom. Some were alive before she took the throne, but would have been young people or children at the time she ascended. Yes, of course, I mean Queen Elizabeth II. 

Even though I’m an American through and through, I have a special love for our neighbors across the pond. My ancestry is both English and Scottish. My paternal grandfather’s side of the family comes from the clan MacDonald and my paternal grandmother’s side were Londoners from a very long time ago. Both sides came to the USA early on—late 1600s.  My fifth generation back great-grandfather enlisted in George Washington’s army when he was only 15 and almost froze to death at Valley Forge. My MacDonald relatives fled Scotland near the time of the Glencoe massacre so we’re definitely long term residents of the North American continent. 

That doesn’t take away from the fact that I love the United Kingdom. In fact, every time I visit, I feel like I’ve come home. It’s kind of weird how that feeling just comes over me from the minute I step off the plane. 

I don’t know that I’d call myself a monarchist, but I do enjoy reading about and studying the history of the various countries making up the UK. I have followed the lives of the current royal family since Lady Diana became engaged to Prince Charles. She and I were the same age and both had two sons so I felt an affinity for her. 

Queen Elizabeth was a woman to be looked up to. She worked hard in the time of WWII and made herself useful. From the time she took the throne—and even before that—she served her country tirelessly. Even up to the Tuesday before she passed away on Thursday. That’s admirable. Ninety-six years old and still working. Very impressive. 

I didn’t think she’d live long once she lost her husband. It’s a sad fact that many long term partners pass away in close proximity to each other. They become so dependent on each other, they seem to deteriorate faster once one is gone. She had been looking quite frail lately which was worrisome. 

I was saddened by a lot of ugly comments online about the queen’s passing. I get that some people do not admire her nor the institution she represented, but at the end of the day, she was a woman. A human being. A mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, friend. Her family, no matter  rank or standing, has a huge loss to cope with just in their personal capacity, not even considering succession and all that entails. I wish the people making such unkind comments would take a moment and remember that.  Can you imagine having to grieve in such a public way? And subject to nasty comments? It would make it so much harder, I think. 

The end of the second Elizabethan era comes to an end and the beginning of the third Charles era begins. What do we call it? Charlesian? 

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes to change over all the currency, beefeater uniforms, post boxes, etc. Not many of us would have been witness to those kind of mundane changes when Queen Elizabeth took over from her father. History. We’re living history right now. A front row seat, so to speak.